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Alibaba’s Idle Fish evolves from online flea market to location-based community

The new version of the app went live on Wednesday.

Photo: Tuchong

Alibaba’s C2C second-hand goods trading platform Idle Fish (Xianyu in Chinese) has promoted a location-based feature in the recently released version of its app to better engage its users, 36Kr reported.

Users can now choose to view used goods located near them by simply clicking their city’s name button, which is placed very prominently on the app. Other Idle Fish’s location-based services such as home rental and pets matchmaking have also been moved to a more visible place. Previously, users needed to manually find goods located close to them to facilitate final handover and save logistics costs.

The new updates indicate that Idle Fish, which was launched in 2012 by Alibaba’s Taobao team to enable individuals to sell, buy and exchange unwanted consumer products, is integrating more community features so that its users can engage with others more easily and frequently.

The platform also wants to raise its attractiveness and potentially lure away users from competitors such as Tencent-backed online housing platform Beike and classified information platform 58.com.

Idle Fish app
A user living in Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi province, can view used goods located in the city by simply clicking the Xi’an button. Source: Screenshot from the app

In the 2019 fiscal year, transactions on Idle Fish reached RMB 100 billion (USD 14 billion) and the number of active individual sellers amounted to 60 million, Jiang Fan, president of Taobao and Tmall, said in September. He added that the platform has already hosted more than 1.3 million interest-based communities called Fish Ponds.